Finding themselves battling Great Bend Chiefs right-hander Johnny Allende, the Salina Falcons scored a single run in the second inning and added another in the sixth for a 2-0 victory on Thursday night in the second game of a doubleheader.
It was the home-opening doubleheader for the Chiefs at the Great Bend Sports Complex, where they lost 8-0 in the opener.
Falcons right-hander Robert James struck out 14 batters in dodging a bullet by the Chiefs, who stranded two baserunners in the bottom of the sixth in the nightcap.
Allende escaped a rocky second, where he walked two batters, hit two others and gave up one run on a fielder’s choice. He was able to maintain his composure and didn’t allow another run until Dane Long’s RBI single in the sixth made it 2-0, chasing Allende with Tristan Hall coming on.
“Johnny did a really good job of mixing up his pitches and keeping them off-balance up there,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said. “Our defense played really, really well behind him and we made some big plays and turning two key double plays to help him out on the mound.
“He gave us a fighting chance.”
In particular, the Chiefs had a pair of web gems in third baseman Braden Jones diving to his right near the bag, coming up and throwing out a runner at first base, along with Bryce Beck snaring a line drive from his shortstop position.
“Alex Deist did a really good job at first base,” Stettinger said. “He saved a couple runs, just laying out and knocking down some balls. Our defense did a great job all the way around.”
Great Bend (0-8) threatened in the bottom of the inning with one out. Jaxx Hillman and Beck stroked singles, with Hillman moving to third on Beck’s base hit. Beck then promptly stole second.
But James closed out the Chiefs by striking out Jared Maneth and Dillon Reiser. The Falcons are now 9-2 on the season.
The Chiefs had a pair of scoring opportunities go dry in the second and third. Allende tripled to lead off the second, but was left stranded. One inning later, Shade Wondra reached on an error and advanced to third before they came away empty.
Jones’ single in the fourth was the only other hit for the Chiefs until the sixth.
Salina’s Mason Brightbill was hit in the face on a throw by catcher Maneth when he walked across home plate after striking out in the seventh. Maneth was throwing to second on a steal attempt when he inadvertantly nailed Brightbill. Brightbill was helped from the field after laying flat on his back for a few minutes near home plate.
Falcons 8, Chiefs 0 (5)
The little things, sometimes, give a team the upper hand.
Such was the case for the Falcons, who capitalized on a fielding error for the first of three runs they scored after two outs were recorded.
With a pair of runners on base in the second inning of a scoreless game, Bailey Ramsey’s hard-hit deep grounder skipped off the glove of Chiefs second baseman Hillman, enabling Brightbill to score from third for a 1-0 Falcons lead.
Salina leadoff hitter Trenton Early, who totaled three runs batted in, added a two-run single to increase its lead to 3-0. The Falcons added a single run in the third, three in the fourth and one in the fifth to put the eight-run rule into effect in an 8-0 victory.
Chiefs right-hander Beck went all five innings on the mound, scattering nine hits, including two for extra bases.
Beck, who sprained his right ankle earlier in the week during the Great Bend High School team basketball camp, had no run support.
The Chiefs, who totaled six hits, loaded the bases in the second, but came away empty. Reiser led off with a single up the middle and Jones reached on a fielder’s choice, with Reiser out at second. After Allende singled to left-center field, Matthew Zecha hit into an inning-ending double play.
Trailing 7-0 in the fourth, the Chiefs had runners on second and third and nobody out after Beck singled and Tristan Hall doubled. But Reiser, Jones and Allende were retired in succession.
Down to its final out in the fifth, Great Bend’s Hillman and Wondra hit back-to-back singles before Beck was retired to end the game.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION
At Great Bend
Great Bend Sports Complex
Salina Falcons 8, Great Bend Chiefs 0 (5)
123 45 R H E
Falcons 031 31 — 8 9 0
Chiefs 000 00 — 0 6 3
Dan O'Brien & Mason Brightbill; Bryce Beck & Anson Hall. W — O'Brien. L — Beck. 2B — Salina (Mason Brightbill, Dalton Dooley).
Salina 2, Great Bend 0
123 456 7 R H E
Falcons 001 001 0 — 2 6 0
Chiefs 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Robert James & Dane Long; Johnny Allende, Tristan Hall (6) & Jared Maneth. W — James. L — Allende. 2B — Mason Brightbill. 3B — Allende.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION
Great Bend Chiefs
C-INF-P Jared Maneth; OF-P Brett Basye; C-INF-P Anson Hall; INF-P Jaxx Hillman; INF-P Tyler Nuss; INF-OF-C Matthew Zecha; INF-P Shade Wondra; OF-P Logan Zecha; OF-P Johnny Allende; P-SS Bryce Beck; P-INF Tristan Hall; OF-P Dillon Reiser; INF-P Braden Jones; OF-P Gabriel Juarez; INF-P Rane Libeer; INF Alex Deist; INF Aaron Rodriquez.
2013 Chiefs Classic
6 — Great Bend vs. Hutchinson Blue, Great Bend Sports Complex
11 a.m. — Great Bend vs. Larned, Sports Complex
1:30 p.m. — Hutchinson Blue vs. Larned, Sports Complex
3:30 — Hutchinson Blue vs. Buhler, Sports Complex
5:30 — Great Bend vs. Buhler, Sports Complex
9 a.m. — Larned vs. Buhler, Sports Complex
11 — Semifinal at Sports Complex
11 — Semifinal at Al Burns Field
3 p.m. — Championship, Sports Complex
2013 Braves Classic
9 a.m. — Hutchinson Gold vs. Buhler, Al Burns
11 a.m. — Buhler vs. McPherson, Al Burns
11 a.m. — Hays vs. Garden City, Harms Field
1:30 p.m. — Hutchinson Gold vs. McPherson, Harms Field
3:30 — Hays vs. Hutchinson Gold, Al Burns
3:30 — Garden City vs. Buhler, Harms Field
5:30 — McPherson vs. Garden City, Al Burns Field
9 a.m. — Hays vs. Buhler, Harms Field
9 — Hutchinson Gold vs. Garden City, Al Burns Field
11 a.m. — Hays vs. McPherson, Harms Field
1 p.m. — No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 seed, Sports Complex